ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



December 2017



What I’m Reading – December 3, 2017

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Horrific Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary Action

“Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who is a former chairwoman of the intelligence committee, said in an interview this week that Mr. Trump’s requests were “inappropriate” and represented a breach of the separation of powers. “It is pressure that should never be brought to bear by an official when the legislative branch is in the process of an investigation,” Ms. Feinstein said. Trump Pressed Top Republicans to End Senate Russia Inquiry (by Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman, and Alexander Burns for the New York Times)

“But what’s happening in the Senate right now really does deserve Trumpian superlatives. The bill Republican leaders are trying to ram through this week without hearings, without time for even a basic analysis of its likely economic impact, is the biggest tax scam in history. It’s such a big scam that it’s not even clear who’s being scammed — middle-class taxpayers, people who care about budget deficits, or both. One thing is clear, however: One way or another, the bill would hurt most Americans. The only big winners would be the wealthy — especially those who mainly collect income from their assets rather than working for a living — plus tax lawyers and accountants who would have a field day exploiting the many loopholes the legislation creates.” The Biggest Tax Scam in History (by Paul Krugman for the New York Times)

Sexual Harassment and Assault

“But now, with only a small handful of high-profile men finally facing some repercussions after years of abuse, there is already an effort to slow down. Is this becoming a witch hunt? Is this becoming a sex panic? Are innocent men at risk of being wrongly accused? Today’s headlines seem to be either dominated by the men who’ve been flaunting their abuse of women for years, even decades, with explicit details of all of the horrors they were allowed to inflict upon women — or about the men who might be at risk for being “unfairly” accused. The men who are now “scared to even talk to women” lest they be accused of sexual harassment. And the women…the women are forgotten completely.” Due Process Is Needed For Sexual Harassment Accusations — But For Whom? (by Ijeoma Oluo for The Establishment)

“Nassar — a longtime team physician for USA Gymnastics who had a successful and highly-touted medical practice at Michigan State — has been accused of sexually abusing more than 140 women and girls under the guise of providing medical treatment. Last week’s plea, which came just a day after Gabby Douglas became the third member of the 2012 London Olympics gold-medal winning “Fierce Five” gymnastics team to say she was abused by Nassar, is only the beginning of the consequences in store for the disgraced doctor.” Michigan State hasn’t faced consequences for enabling the biggest sex abuse scandal in U.S. sports (by Lindsay Gibbs for Think Progress)

“Two of those women had tried to warn the spa about Deiter before Ingram had, court records show. Three months before Ingram’s assault, one woman told the spa that Deiter had touched her genitals. One month before Ingram’s assault, another woman reported he had touched her breasts. The spa decided their allegations weren’t credible, in part because, like Ingram, both women had made them over the phone and wouldn’t return to the spa to discuss the events in person. Lawyers would later ask the spa owner and another clinic manager why they would judge an alleged sexual assault victim on her willingness to return to the scene of the crime.” Hands Off (by Katie J.M. Baker for Buzzfeed)

“In 2015 we wrote an article for ProPublica and the Marshall Project about Marie, an 18-year-old who reported being raped in Lynnwood, Wash., by a man who broke into her apartment. (Marie is her middle name.) Police detectives treated small inconsistencies in her account — common among trauma victims — as major discrepancies. Instead of interviewing her as a victim, they interrogated her as a suspect. Under pressure, Marie eventually recanted — and was charged with false reporting, punishable by up to a year in jail. The court ordered her to pay $500 in court costs, get mental health counseling for her lying and go on supervised probation for one year. More than two years later, the police in Colorado arrested a serial rapist — and discovered a photograph proving he had raped Marie.” When Sexual Assault Victims Are Charged With Lying (by Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller for  the New York Times)

Disaster Response

“”The fact that you’re displaced, not just relaxing here, it kind of makes you feel like you don’t fit in the environment,” said Hernandez, 44, who had been renting a house in southeast Houston’s Wayside neighborhood. Living in hotels and motels for extended periods is not just hard on families; it’s costly for taxpayers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had spent more than $186 million on its Texas hotel program as of mid-November – about $2.8 million a day. It’s taking too long to move displaced families into more permanent arrangements, and there’s blame to share, said Tom McCasland, housing director for the city of Houston.” Tens of thousands displaced by Harvey still yearn for home (by Rebecca Elliott for Houston Chronicle)

Good Intentions

“Now don’t get me wrong. Donating to charity is a good thing, particularly during the holidays, when many charities budget for yuletide donations. But, the simple rules of economics are begging you: Give money to food banks, rather than food.Canned goods have a particularly low rate of charitable return. They’re heavy, they’re awkward and they can be extremely difficult to fit into a family’s meal plan. Worst of all, the average consumer is buying their canned goods at four to five times the rock-bottom bulk price that can be obtained by the food bank itself.” I’m begging you: Stop donating canned goods to food banks (by Tristin Hopper for the National Post)

Worldwide Violence

“Two eyewitnesses and a security source told Reuters that the suspected militants targeted supporters of the security forces attending prayers. Citing official sources, the state-run MENA news agency reported that the mosque is largely attended by Sufi Muslims — a form of Islam considered heretical by some conservatives and extremists like the Islamic State group.” Egypt mosque attack leaves at least 305 dead in Sinai Peninsula (by Charlene Gubash and F. Brinley Bruton for NBC)

Fight Back

“Internet users outraged by Verizon-lawyer-turned-FCC-Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to gut net neutrality are planning to protest at Verizon retail stores across the country on Thursday, December 7th, one week before an expected vote at the FCC. In some cities, protesters will march from Verizon stores to lawmakers’ offices.” Net neutrality protests to hit Verizon stores across the U.S. during busy holiday shopping season

Reproductive Rights

Childfree Is A Legitimate Choice

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